Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.

               9 We love because he first loved us. 

               20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

               __ 1 John 4:19-20 (New International Version)


New Delhi — Vigyan Bawan, 7 November 1999 | My presence here among you further signifies that the Catholic Church wants to engage in a deeper dialogue with the world’s religions. She sees this dialogue as an act of love with roots in God himself.

               “God is love,” proclaims the New Testament, “and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. . . Let us love, then, because he has loved us first. . . no-one who fails to love the brother whom he sees can love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:16, 19-20).

It is a sign of hope that the world’s religions are becoming more aware of their shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family. This is a crucial part of the globalization of solidarity, which must occur if the world’s future is to be secure. This shared responsibility increases as we discover what we share as religious men and women.

               Which of us does not grapple with the mystery of suffering and death? Which of us does not hold life, truth, peace, freedom, and justice as fundamental values?

               Which of us is not convinced that moral goodness is soundly rooted in the individual’s and society’s openness to the transcendent world of the Divinity?

               Which of us does not believe that the way to God requires prayer, silence, asceticism, sacrifice, and humility?

               Which of us is unconcerned that scientific and technical progress should be accompanied by spiritual and moral awareness?

               Which of us does not believe that society’s challenges can only be met by building a civilization of love founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty?

And how can we do this, except through encounters, mutual understanding, and cooperation?

The path before us is demanding, and there is always the temptation to choose instead the path of isolation and division, which leads to conflict. This, in turn, unleashes the forces that make religion an excuse for violence, as we see too often around the world.

Recently, I was happy to welcome the Vatican representatives of the world religions who had gathered to build upon the achievements of the Assisi Meeting in 1986. I repeat here what I said to that distinguished Assembly:

               “Religion is not, and must not become, a pretext for conflict, particularly when religious, cultural, and ethnic identity coincide.

               Religion and peace go together: to wage war in the name of religion is a blatant contradiction”.

               Religious leaders, in particular, must do everything possible to ensure that religion is what God intends it to be – a source of goodness, respect, harmony, and peace!

This is the only way to honor God in truth and justice!

Our encounter requires that we strive to discern and welcome what is good and holy in one another so that together, we can acknowledge, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral truths that guarantee the world’s future (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2). 

Excerpted from:

JOHN PAUL II, Meeting with Representatives of other Religions and Other Christian Confessions, Sunday, 7 November 1999, New Delhi — Vigyan Bawan